Bishop Gumbleton Update.
The Freep's front page peace blitz continues. And Bishop Thomas K. Gumbleton is the star of today's below-the-fold story, with Rudy Simons as a very special guest star. My opinion of Bishop Gumbleton has fallen considerably since my original posting.
He continues to have nothing to say:
For Gumbleton, the march for peace is rooted in the doctrine of nonviolence and firsthand experience seeing the impact the 12-year economic sanctions have had on Iraq. He makes his point by holding a fragment from a cluster bomb dropped from a U.S. fighter jet during the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
"This one is meant to go off upon human contact," said Gumbleton, who was given the memento during a mid-January visit to Iraqi homes, schools and hospitals in Baghdad and Basra.
As long as the Bishop keeps trotting out this line about what "the sanctions" are doing to Iraq, I feel constrained to point out that the problem is not the sanctions, but the tyrant in Baghdad. As I noted two weeks ago, the Bishop really needs to stop being so accommodating and being willingly led around by the nose. Try going to the part of Iraq where the skies are patrolled by Brits and Yanks, not Hussein. The part where the people, not the dictator, spend the oil money. The place where the money actually buys food and medicine, not palaces, mobile biowar labs and the latest missile technology. The bishop's shtick is getting old.
There are two possibilities: one, he is ignorant of the facts concerning the repressive regime and the relatively healthy status of the people outside the autocrat's grip. If so, then Bishop Gumbleton is an unreliable and inaccurate source on the issue of Iraq, and should be politely ignored. The second possibility is that the Bishop is aware of some or all of these facts, but disregards them in his quest for "peace" at any price. If so, he is an unreliable, inaccurate and contemptible source on Iraq, and his views should be reviled, then ignored. In the interests of charity, I will presume the former. But understand that it is a strained presumption, and there is ample evidence to suspect the second is true.
With respect to the cluster bomb chunklet, two points. The first and most obvious is that, yes, they were used in the Gulf War, targeting the Iraqi fuhrer's most fanatical force, the Republican Guard. Yes, it's legit in wartime. Second, with respect to the exploding-on-human-contact thing:
Well, that's the idea, as has been noted in this war.
[T]he U.S. and U.K governments have defended their use of the [cluster bomb] weapons saying they are the only effective way of dealing with particular threats and are only used after careful consideration of the risk to civilian life.
"They are being used on frontline al Qaeda and Taliban troops to try to kill them," U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told reporters Thursday.
"[That] is why we're using them, to be perfectly blunt."
I'd love to be a fly on the wall during a closed-door meeting between the Bishop and the Secretary of Defense. You? Back to the Freep article:
"We've seen the results of the 1991 war and the sanctions, and it's difficult to think of the Iraqi people as an enemy after you've wept with them as they watch their children die because there aren't enough medical supplies."
Sigh. Has he considered the possibility that the scarcity in medical supplies might have something, I don't know, perhaps, maybe, to do with the Iraqi regime and its militaristic priorities?
To quote Michael Rubin in The New Republic:
The Azad pharmacy in Sulaymaniyah is stocked with medicines. So is the Shara pharmacy next door. In the cool early evening hours, the street bustles with shoppers, some of whom drift inside. They hand over prescriptions, pay the equivalent of a few cents, and walk out with antibiotics for their wives or medicine for their children. Down the street, shops sell watermelons, cheese, vegetables, and meat. Even the liquor stores have large inventories. Mazdas and Mercedeses are becoming more common on the newly paved roads; in the wealthier areas, it is not uncommon to see BMWs. Sony PlayStation has become the latest craze, even among housewives. None of which would be particularly noteworthy, except that Sulaymaniyah is in Iraq.
The part of Iraq not controlled by the fascist tyrant. The tyrant whose totalitarian regime the good Bishop never quite gets around to acknowledging. That would, after all, tend to complicate matters.
Because he and the rest of the "peace" movement would have to acknowledge these painfully difficult facts about the Persian Gulf's Nazi disciple:
The regime of Saddam Hussein has killed or exiled proportionally more of its population than Hitler's did to Germany;
The regime of Saddam Hussein currently has a worse record with respect to dealing with its neighbors than that of Adolf Hitler in 1938; and
The regime of Saddam Hussein has or is developing weapons that Adolf Hitler could not have imagined in his most diseased fantasies.
But the Bishop is, as is his wont, incapable of even mentioning Hussein.
Gumbleton and eight others spent seven days in Iraq on a trip organized by Voices in the Wilderness, a broad-focused pacifist organization,and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, a group with relatives killed on Sept. 11. It was Gumbleton's third trip to Iraq since the Gulf War. He traveled to the country in 1995, then again in 1998 as part of a delegation that brought $4 million in medical aid.
The 1998 trip was done in conjunction with former Johnson Administration AG and current whack job Ramsey Clark. The company you keep...
Speaking of company:
Traveling in January with Gumbleton was Southfield resident Rudy Simons, whose activism began in 1960 when U.S. involvement in Vietnam consisted of a few thousand military advisers.
"Our work is to testify to what we've seen," said Simons, a member of Michigan Coalition for Human Rights who will speak at the Detroit rally. "We're not supporting the Iraqi government, but pointing out who gets hurt and killed in war -- it's the people."
My respect for The Michigan Catholic just went into the toilet. Last month, it referred to Mr. Simons as only "an Oakland County businessman." TMC left out the piddling detail about him being a longtime professional peace activist. Looks like I get to play FCYA with the archdiocesan newspaper from now on. In any event, Rudy continues his "we're not useful idiots" song and dance, but is unable to cover his fool's motley. After all, a policy that leaves the Iraqi regime unmolested is the very definition of "supporting the Iraqi government." The hands-off, no sanctions/no war avenue proposed by the Bishop and the "Businessman" will do just that.
The section on the Bishop concludes with this howler:
That testimony is a direct challenge to the Bush administration.
Sure: it's a direct challenge to the ability of Administration members to keep from wetting themselves during a laughing fit.
Secretary Rumsfeld: "Bishop Who?"
The essential facts about Bishop Thomas K. Gumbleton are these:
It is painfully evident that the bishop has never, ever visited any of the victims of Hussein's regime. How is this possible? What about the gassed Kurds in the northern safe haven, or the increasing number of refugees from the oppression in Jordan? Hell, he wouldn't have to go that far: he could trundle out of St. Leo's rectory, hop in the car and head out to talk to one of these brave men in the Detroit suburbs. I'd love to see him try to explain his Hussein-coddling, do-nothing approach to these guys. I'd pay top dollar to see that.
Or during maybe a chat with some of the Iraqi opposition in country? They are easy to find--in the overflowing prisons and torture mills of the Baathist state. Well?
Bishop Gumbleton has never had word one to say about the victims of Saddam Hussein. Not one damn word. The silence is very, very, very telling.
You may start ignoring him now.